# LGBT



Iowa Republicans take a wrecking ball to education

Dan Henderson is a lifelong Iowan, retired educator (taught history for 30 years), writer, author, and community activist, living in Washington. A version of this post first appeared on his Substack newsletter, Things We Don’t Talk About Like Politics & Religion.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, along with her MAGA Republican colleagues in the statehouse, are rushing to try and outdo Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida in taking a wrecking ball to public education. This goal of Republican extremists stems from the conspiracy theories they see under every bush and in every classroom, as well as their basic mistrust for public school educators.

The GOP trifecta passed a historic private school voucher bill in January. It will siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools, directing them toward private schools with no strings attached. No accountability, no mandates, no assurance that the money will be spent on students and their educational needs. It is a bonanza for private religious schools, and for-profit schools that will now see Iowa as fertile ground for their scam institutions.

But the wrecking ball doesn’t stop there.

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Supreme Court case could become slippery slope

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

Few people like being told what they must do. Lorie Smith is one of them.

The suburban Denver, Colorado business owner, a devout Christian, builds websites for customers. She wants to expand her business and begin building websites for couples who are planning weddings.

But she is adamant that she does not want to be forced to build websites for same-sex couples. Doing so, she says, would violate her faith, which does not allow her to celebrate same-sex marriages.

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Joni Ernst chooses right side of history

Iowa’s U.S. Senator Joni Ernst was among twelve Republicans who helped Democrats pass the Respect for Marriage Act on November 29. Her vote reflected both a personal evolution and a smart political calculation.

The bill would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which banned same-sex marriages when it was enacted in 1996. It would also “require the federal government to recognize a marriage between two individuals if the marriage was valid in the state where it was performed.” Finally, although the bill would not require states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, it would require states to give marriages performed elsewhere “full faith and credit, regardless of the couple’s sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.”

Senate rules require at least 60 votes to overcome a filibuster by the minority party, and the vote on final passage was 61-36 (roll call). Iowa’s Senator Chuck Grassley was one of the 36 Republicans who opposed the bill.

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Grassley rewrites history on marriage equality stance

The U.S. Senate is on track to pass legislation protecting same-sex marriage rights, after twelve Republicans (including Senator Joni Ernst) joined all Democrats in voting to proceed with debating the bill on November 16.

Senator Chuck Grassley was among the 37 Republicans who voted to block the bill. In a written statement, he claimed the legislation would “put people with certain sincere religious beliefs at greater legal risk,” even though a bipartisan amendment addressed concerns of religious organizations well enough to satisfy the Mormon Church.

Grassley also portrayed himself as supporting marriage equality: “Of course I believe that all married couples should be able to continue to benefit from the same federal rights and privileges that Barbara and I have enjoyed for 68 years – regardless of their race or sexual orientation.”

That’s not what he said when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage, or when the Iowa Supreme Court struck down our state’s Defense of Marriage Act.

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Not all Iowans welcome in Kim Reynolds' field of dreams

“Here in this field of dreams that we call home, anything is possible,” Governor Kim Reynolds declares near the end of her last television commercial before the November election.

Although the ad is superficially upbeat, its script and carefully chosen images convey an exclusionary message. To Reynolds, the place “we call home” is for people like herself: straight, white Christians from rural areas.

It’s another divisive move for a candidate who already spent heavily to bring racist tropes to Iowans’ tv screens.

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